Neil Lennon’s second spell as Glasgow Celtic manager has come to an end after the former Armagh Gaelic footballer vacated the Hoops’ hot seat.
The fiery redhead, who enjoyed a decorated playing career at both Leicester City and Celtic, has paid the price after his erstwhile charges have become tailed off behind Steven Gerrard’s rampant Rangers outfit.
During his second stint in charge, the green and white accumulated another five trophies, including completing another treble last December. In football nowadays, where results rapidly outweigh loyalty, that he has departed wouldn’t really be a major shock.
However, even from the tone of Celtic’s statement on Lennon’s departure that there is no acrimony towards the Northern Irishman who served the club as both player and manager with distinction.
Peter Lowwall said ” I would like to pay tribute to Neil for all he has done for the club in his second spell, delivering our eighth and ninth successive league titles, the quadruple treble and winning the last five available domestic trophies.
“Neil has always been and will always be a true Celtic man and someone I will always hold in the highest regard.”I have watched Neil fight many battles over many years, on and off the field, with a courage and tenacity few could match. Even this season, he has fought so hard and worked tirelessly to turn things around.
“While this season has not progressed as we would have liked, it cannot diminish the character or integrity of a man who has given the club so much.
“Personally, it is a sad day for me to see Neil leave the club. Neil is a man of quality and decency, he is someone who will always be part of the fabric of Celtic and someone who will always be welcomed at Celtic Park.
“On behalf of everyone at the club, and personally, I would like to thank Neil for his work as our manager and I wish him and his family good health and continued success in everything they do.”
If, as looks almost certain at this stage, the Ibrox outfit do regain the throne in Scotland, it will surely be a major positive bullet point on Gerrard’s fledgling managerial CV. There are those – and I would have been guilty of this myself for a while – who would seek to devalue such an achievement owing to what is undoubtedly a lack of depth in the opposition which those in the land of the thistle.
Using the same metrics could, of course, devalue Lennon’s excellent record at Parkhead. In neither case would it be remotely fair. In Gerrard’s case – and this point has often been made regardless of which of the big two happened to be on top in Scotland – maintaining the standards of excellence required of course of a season to attain a title is no mean achievement regardless of where or what competition it is.
Doing so multiple times, as the former midfielder oversaw during his two spells in the green half of the city is even more commendable. It should also most likely mean he should be out of work for too long.